They say California is a paradise…Hollywood turns nighttime into day…But up along the San Joaquin those city lights…might as well be a million miles away…” – Steve Earle, from Leroy’s Dustbowl Blues
There is a great old hobo song by The Grateful Dead that has the line “Goin’ where the climate suits my clothes.” I remember thinking of this line the last time I was in San Fransisco as I saw the extent of homelessness in the place. In the big coastal cities of California it doesn’t get that cold. As such many homeless people find their way there.
Add that there is also just a tendency in this country for the marginalized to head toward the Pacific for some reason.
It is said that the Beat poets went as far west as they possibly could and settled in Ocean Beach in the fog and the coffee shops. Many a wayward youth hitched their way along Route 66 after the Beats. Before all of them were the dustbowl Oakies.
That housing in California is so expensive, driven by a mix of factors, but in large part by overly burdensome building regulations is also a large part of what is going on here. Sadly it isn’t as big a factor as mental illness.
(From The Telegraph)
The three-minute clip was originally published on Instagram by LA street artist Plastic Jesus then on LiveLeak by Nick Stern in the ‘Citizen Journalism’ video category.
It had only been live for 10 hours when it was viewed nearly 40,000 times.
In one frame of the viral footage, a man can be seen pushing a wheelchair in the middle of the road.
Another wheelchair-bound man reclines listlessly on a street corner while women file their thin-looking children through the crowds.
Makeshift canopies – often simply sheets erected on poles – are packed in tightly beside one another in endless rows.
The attached article made me think of this song by the brilliant (lefty) Steve Earle.